A ‘Connected Home’ is a term you’ve probably been hearing about recently, but what does it really mean?
Put simply, the idea of a Connected Home is to create a network of smart devices that make your life easier. That can start with being able to turn the oven or heating on from afar and be extended into controlling your lighting or even improving your home security with a remotely operated camera.
If it all sounds very technical you should rest easy – these products have been designed from the start to be accessible, with most interaction possible through streamlined smartphone and tablet apps.
In fact Bosch has worked on putting together its own app and ecosystem called Home Connect. This is a collaboration between a number of different manufacturers, including Bosch and Siemens in Europe, brings together many different products under a single app.
With this software, you could easily communicate with your coffee machine to have your beverage ready when you reach the kitchen or get a notification when your meal is ready in the oven. It can let you set a time for the dishwasher and give you advice on which cycle to use, make more efficient use of your washer/dryer and even take a peek inside your fridge to make sure you have enough milk.
One company which is leading the way in connected products is Nest. They’re probably best known for the Learning Thermostat, which does a huge number of things, including remembering your patterns and turning on and off the heating when you need it most. There’s also a smart smoke detector called the Nest Protect that keeps an eye on your air quality and the Cam – a camera which monitors your home and can automatically upload footage to the cloud.
Current price: €249.00
Belkin WeMo products offer even more ways to smarten up your house. You can pick up a plug which can be activated via smartphone app from anywhere in the world. This is also handy for setting up a schedule for lights to keep your home looking occupied, a purpose shared with the Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs.
On the entertainment side of things, a Connected Home can also be filled with Connected Audio. A device like the Bose SoundTouch 10 can work as a standlone speaker and also as the first part of a connected system. Each unit can be networked to others in a few simple steps, allowing you to have the same music flowing through every room in your house, straight from streaming services like Spotify.
Current price: €399.00
This is just a small glimpse at the future of the Smart Connected Home and you can experience it in person at the Harvey Norman Connected Home Show House at the Permanent TSB Ideal Homes Show in the RDS. It’s running from the 15th to the 17th of April 2016 and you can get free tickets with Harvey Norman here.